IWD: Your Little Black Book Of Female-founded NYC-based Brands To Obsess Over

by Freya Drohan

Incase you haven’t yet gone on Instagram today and seen the countless IWD-related tributes, allow us to remind you that today, March 8, is indeed as good a day as any to highlight, celebrate, and share the love. With that in mind, here are some new and old industry power players to take note of. 

Ulla Johnson 

Who: Ulla Johnson

What: Thoughtfully designed and created ‘future heirlooms’ inspired by global culture and travel, and a prevailing sense of unique personal style.


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Bronx & Banco

Who: Natalie De Banco

What: Born in Russia, raised in Australia, and now overseeing offices in NYC, Sydney, and Hong Kong; De Banco borrows influences from all over the world for her Bronx & Banco woman, ensuring that she always marches to the beat of her own drum.


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Who: Michelle Duncan

What: The self-taught designer launched the brand, which first found fast fans thanks to its dramatic dresses, in 2019. This season, there’s a notable focus on sharp tailoring and the type of outerwear that exudes confidence and city cool.


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Briony Raymond

Who: Briony Raymond

What: Combining her backgrounds in finance, art history, and formative career years spent at Van Cleef & Arpels, Raymond is currently making a name for herself as a go-to for bespoke creations and one of a kind investment pieces.

Cara Cara 

Who: Julia Workman Brown, Sasha Martin, and Katie Hobbs

What: The three friends seek their inspiration from vintage images, timeless silhouettes, and the type of evocative and fun prints that make us want to don one of their best-selling dresses immediately.


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Who: Dani Evans

What: A unisex line of classic, time-honored hat styles which hark back to the jazz era of the 1940s and 1950s. The ultimate inspiration? Evans’ own grandfather, a free-spirited sax player known for his assured sense of style.


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Brother Vellies

Who: Aurora James

What: With sustainability at the heart, James supports and partners with artisans across the globe, who hand-create the category-defining luxury footwear and accessories that have won the brand a dedicated following far and wide.


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Danielle Frankel  

Who: Danielle Hirsch

What: Brides to be, or indeed everyone, take note! This emerging star (a Vera Wang alum and the first-ever bridalwear designer to become a Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund finalist) launched her fiercely original Fall Winter ’21 collection today and further cemented her status as a name to know.

Jennifer Fisher

Who: Jennifer Fisher

What: Household-name jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher has a who’s who list of celebrity clientele that any founder would dream of. But closer to home, she has everyone on our editorial team swayed with her offering of hoop earrings, pendants, and more.

Elle est

Who: Tamika Wilkins

What: Contemporary wardrobe staples that are adaptable and versatile—but reliably elegant. The emerging brand is designed, sourced, and made to order in NYC.


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Pamela Love 

Who: Pamela Love

What: Well, with a moniker as good as Pamela Love, it makes sense that this native New Yorker would launch a namesake line. The jewelry designer began making creations in her Brooklyn apartment some 15 years ago, and quickly found fans in A listers and editors, which eventually guaranteed her a CFDA award win a few years back.


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Who: Alexandra O’Neill

What: Since dressing First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for Inauguration Day, the self-taught young designer has seen her brand go even more stratospheric. Expect a modern-day spin on regal and feminine couture-like creations—you know…elegant pieces that are still down for being on the dancefloor until 3AM.


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Jill Heller

Who: Jill Heller

What: The woman on speed dial for the vintage jewelry aficionados in the know. I mean, it’s no wonder. Just feast your eyes on one of her typical swoon-worthy finds below!

Mansur Gavriel 

Who: Rachel Mansur, Floriana Gavriel

What: Between its heavenly blush-toned flagship store in Soho to the viral bag styles the brand launched with in 2012, Mansur Gavriel likely needs no further introduction. The latest launch is the Tulipano, below, which has quickly found a fanbase just like the sought-after Cloud, Bucket, and Lady styles.


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Third Crown

Who: Kristin Essel (and Kofi Essel)

What: Chunky, bold, and geometric pieces that would cause anyone to stop and stare. Even before we heard the brand has garnered fans in the likes of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles and Andra Day, we were already listening intently.


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Tanya Taylor 

Who: Tanya Taylor

What: Size inclusive and rooted in considered practices, an investment in a colorful and optimistic Tanya Taylor piece is to hedge your bets on a designer with a heart.


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Who: Laura Powers

What: New Brooklyn-based brand BRUCE is the fledgling baby of a former Catbird designer.  Ergo, you know it’s going to go down a treat with both style conscious Brooklynites and anyone who can’t say no to delicate, subdued (and fair trade!) forever pieces.


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Who: Sade Mims

What: The Brooklyn-based brand, recently highlighted at the Black in Fashion Council showroom during NYFW, creates the type of handmade jewelry, accessories, and customizable bags that present infinite styling opportunities.


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Deborah Pagani

Who: Deborah Pagani

What: From chic accessories that erase the idea of a bad hair day from the equation altogether to her signature Pill Link and Honey designs, Pagani instinctively creates pieces that women don’t even know they want, until they cop eyes on her latest must-haves.

Jade Trau 

Who: Jade Trau

What: The celebrity-adored designer oversees a line of fine jewelry designed, manufactured, and hand finished all under one roof in NYC. Think: show-stopping sparklers that are equal parts everyday and exceptional.


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Who: Diane Von Furstenberg

What: The revered and legendary designer pretty much put the notion of power dressing on the map in the first place. All these decades later, that premise is still front and centre of everything the brand does.


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Who: Lauren Devereux Burns

What: Ever the jewelry obsessive, Devereux Burns creates pieces utilizing and repurposing gold and diamonds—giving them a beautiful new lease of life in the process. Talk about ensuring a unique jewelry moment!


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Loeffler Randal 

Who: Jessie Randall

What: The Soho-based footwear, accessory, and ready to wear brand was founded with the aim to create timeless, elegant staples for the multitasking modern woman. Some 15 years later, with no shortage of best sellers under the brand’s belt, it’s safe to say that Randall is ensuring the future is equally as promising, thanks in part to a newly-opened picturesque first store!

Hill House Home 

Who: Nell Diamond

What: Nap dresses—need we say more? But while these versatile frocks are the first word in housebound comfort wear, the brand’s entire high-quality, thoughtful offering (think: everything from fluffy towels to a chocolate for your pillow) makes it something of a Bed, Bath & Beyond for the style-conscious millennial.


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Who: Luciana Rozenberg

What: You work hard enough, so why not let your bag do the rest of the heavy lifting. Emerging Brooklyn-based brand Naissant answers all your prayers at once, with offerings that can be worn and styled interchangeably depending on your needs that day.


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Who: Rebecca Hessel Cohen

What: This bohemian, vintage-inspired brand allows you to live your life out like a fairytale character in whimsical fashions your childhood self could only dream of. To really immerse yourself in the LSF world, visit one of the fantastical flagship stores in the West Village or on the Upper East Side.


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Syna Jewels

Who: Namrata Kothari

What: Combining exotic colors with ethereal style, Syna Jewels are in a category all of their own. And in case you needed a visual, this is what we’re talking about:


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Pretty Connected 

Who: Lara Eurdolian

What: Just when we think we have everything we could ever need in terms of accessories, along comes a brand that makes us question it all! Just ask SJP, who can’t get enough of Pretty Connected’s clever phone cases, which incorporate convenient and chic chains that also (get this!) can double as a necklace or a handy way to ensure you never lose your face mask or house keys. Now why didn’t we think of that…

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